Low-cost carriers rank high
Hawaiian and Aloha had higher quality scores but were not included in the ranking
WASHINGTON » Low-cost carriers -- AirTran, Jet Blue and Southwest -- took the top three spots in a national survey of airline quality, while the industry overall fared poorly amid rising fuel prices and increasingly fed-up consumers.
At the bottom of the list released yesterday were Comair, American Eagle and in last place: Atlantic Southeast Airlines.
The past year "was the worst year ever for the U.S. airlines," said Brent Bowen, a study co-author and professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Aviation Institute.
"Overall operational performance and quality declined once again to the lowest level that it's ever been," he said.
The annual Airline Quality Rating survey found that more bags were lost, more passengers were bumped, more consumers complained and fewer flights arrived on-time than in the previous year. The overall "quality score" (-2.16) was the lowest in nearly two decades.
Hawaiian and Aloha airlines weren't ranked in this report, but the institute did include scoring data that shows they would have ranked first and second, respectively, if included.
Hawaiian received a score of -0.80 and Aloha -0.84. The top ranked airline, Air Tran, had a score of -1.03.
Mesa Air Group, which operates go! on interisland flights in Hawaii as well as regional service for larger airlines, ranked 12th with a score of -2.99.
According to the study, the rate of consumer complaints was up 60 percent last year. Mesa was the only airline of the 16 researched, whose complaints didn't increase.